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A Few Words On the TRANSIT

Written by Michelle Ross Co-Founder cliniQ, a trans-founded and led holistic wellbeing, sexual health and HIV organization

Last year, I travelled to Bangkok to provide technical input in developing the Implementing Comprehensive HIV and STI Programmes with Transgender People: Practical Guidance for Collaborative Interventions tool, also known as the TRANSIT. Designed for use by public health officials and managers of HIV and STI programs, this tool covers the implementation of interventions across the full continuum of HIV services, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care.

Bangkok will always mean “the TRANSIT” for me. It was my first time in Thailand and my first time working abroad on such an important development. TRANSIT is the product of a genuine collaboration with other trans folks from across the globe, working together for a common cause of bringing about change, awareness, and the inclusion of informed services — for us and by us. Who wouldn’t want to be involved in such a development?

You see, put simply, Trans Rights Are Human Rights! Unfortunately, making this a reality across the globe is not a simple process. Violations and human rights abuses are very common in many countries. Some of these abuses, particularly for transwomen, include denied access to HIV services, denied access to gender-affirming hormones or surgery, denied health care and employment, and countless murders of transwomen every year. I tweet and re-tweet about the worldwide abuses of human rights — including stabbings and murders — of transgender people. I am fortunate to live in London, a multiracial, culturally diverse city, and I know several transgender people who moved here from other parts of the world to seek a safer haven. Yet, for many people, that opportunity does not exist.

So why is TRANSIT different for me? Because we began to address the underpinnings of the challenges that face the transgender community:

Silence = Exclusion = Erasure
A very real silence exists in many parts of the world with regards to transgender people, particularly transwomen, their HIV status, overall sexual health, and wellbeing. TRANSIT is about ending that silence, ending exclusion, ending the erasure of transpeople’s health needs. TRANSIT shines a light with real examples of how to change things, and how to set up holistic wellbeing services that are fully inclusive. It is about “no more lip service” as the awesome women of the Global Network of Trans Women say! Who wouldn’t want to be involved in such a development?

At times it feels like I am banging my head against a brick wall when talking about transpeople and HIV in the United Kingdom. Like many other countries, the UK has no official data on transpeople and HIV, no idea of infection rates, and no way to record this data because of the one-stage, binary female/male data system. We need to end the silence!

This is going to change, finally, because of the work we have done at cliniQ with Public Health England. This year we will begin to record detailed information with two-stage data collection at all sexual health services in England. Two-stage data collection gives people the option to say how they see their gender identity and how it was assigned at birth. This approach works across all genders and non-binary people who might not identify with a gender. With this type of data collection, you can highlight very clear issues for all trans people across all areas of health, particularly for HIV. This system is based on the two-stage process that was developed by JoAnne Keatley and The Centre of Excellence for Transgender Health (COE) in San Francisco. A big thanks and shout out to you all! While it’s notable that cliniQ has been using a similar system for some time now, it’s not enough. This system needs to be utilized nationwide. And it will be. After much presenting, training, campaigning, and advocacy, we will finally have a data-collection method that is inclusive of trans and non-binary folks!

So, being in Bangkok with other people who “get it,” who know the issues (and then some), was an incredible experience! These are people who have walked the walk, talked the talk, and who have made huge steps forward for the transgender community. They are people who have genuine stories to tell, and I loved being involved and being able to make great connections with a number of people and organizations. To name some would be to leave others out, but I do want to extend a special thanks to The Asia Pacific Transgender Network for hosting the event in Bangkok. It was a meeting I will never forget! It was like a breath of fresh air, but also much more than that — it provided a real understanding of the work we all have to do in our own countries and across the globe. Because these issues are a global concern — Trans Rights Are Human Rights!

This post was originally featured on the blog for the LINKAGES Project, PEPFAR and USAID’s largest global project dedicated to key populations – sex workers, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, and transgender people, and a funder for the important work of the IRGT.

pdf document : TRANSIT

Readiness Assessment: Moving Towards a Country-led and Financed HIV Response for Key Populations

Readiness Assessment: Moving Towards a Country-led and Financed HIV Response for Key Populations
This guide is designed to assess the ability of a country’s stakeholders (including government, development partners, and civil society) to lead and sustain HIV epidemic control among KPs as donors transition to different levels and types of funding. The guide is a flexible tool that assesses readiness across four domains and focuses on the specific vulnerabilities of KPs. It is not an exhaustive list, and users may identify additional areas of technical assistance based on their assessment.
Year of publication: 
2016

Populações chave guia de implementação de programas

Populações chave guia de implementação de programas
O projecto LINKAGES (Linkages em toda a continuidade dos serviços de HIV para populações-chave afectadas pelo VIH), apoiada pelo Plano do Presidente dos EUA para o Alívio do SIDA (PEPFAR) e da Agência dos Estados Unidos para o Desenvolvimento Internacional (USAID), visa acelerar a capacidade do parceiro governos, organizações – chave da sociedade civil levou populacional e provedores do setor privado para planejar, entregar e otimizar a prevenção abrangente do HIV, cuidados e serviços de tratamento em escala que reduzir a transmissão do HIV entre as populações – chave e prolongar a vida para aqueles que são HIV positivo. O projecto LINKAGES estabeleceu uma Iniciativa de Aceleração do Programa global que vai usar suas parcerias existentes para acelerar e fortalecer a entrega do pacote abrangente de serviços em grande escala. Este guia de implementação é parte da iniciativa. Ele define as medidas que os programas podem ser tomadas para fornecer serviços para as populações-chave eficaz e rápida.

O guia também está disponível em Francês e Inglês.

Year of publication: 
2016

Populations clés guide de mise en oeuvre du programme

Populations clés guide de mise en oeuvre du programme
Le projet LINKAGES (des liens dans le continuum des services VIH pour les populations clés affectées par le VIH ), pris en charge par le Plan du Président des États-Unis pour lutter contre le sida (PEPFAR ) et l’Agence américaine pour le développement international (USAID ), vise à accélérer la capacité du partenaire les gouvernements, les principales organisations de la société civile population dirigée, et les fournisseurs du secteur privé pour planifier, fournir, et d’optimiser la prévention complète du VIH, les soins et les services de traitement à l’échelle qui réduisent la transmission du VIH parmi les populations clés et prolongent la vie pour ceux qui sont séropositifs. LINKAGES a mis en place une initiative mondiale d’accélération du programme qui va utiliser ses partenariats existants pour accélérer et renforcer la prestation de l’ ensemble complet de services à l’échelle. Ce guide de mise en œuvre fait partie de l’initiative. Il définit les étapes que les programmes peuvent prendre pour fournir des services aux populations clés rapidement et efficacement.

Le guide est également disponible en anglais et en portugais.

Year of publication: 
2016

TRANSIT: Implementing Comprehensive HIV and STI Programmes with Transgender People

TRANSIT: Implementing Comprehensive HIV and STI Programmes with Transgender People
This tool contains practical advice on implementing HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) programmes with transgender people. It is based on recommendations in the Consolidated Guidelines on HIV Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment and Care for Key Populations, published in 2014 by the World Health Organization. Topics covered include community empowerment and human rights, addressing violence, stigma and discrimination, and delivering trans-competent services, especially for HIV and STI prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. The tool also covers community-led outreach, safe spaces, and the use of information and communications technology in programming, and it offers strategies for managing programmes and building the capacity of trans-led organizations. It contains examples of good practices from around the world that can be used to support efforts to plan programmes and services with trans people.
Year of publication: 
2016

Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for People Who Inject Drugs: Community Voices on Pros, Cons, and Concerns

Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for People Who Inject Drugs: Community Voices on Pros, Cons, and Concerns
With this paper, INPUD aims to amplify the voices of people who inject drugs so that their unique knowledge and perspectives can be taken into account as policies related to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) are formulated. This is of vital importance, as many people who use drugs have grave concerns about the ethics, effectiveness, and safety of prioritising broad promotion of PrEP for people who inject drugs—especially in a global context of drug prohibition and limited access to harm reduction services and antiretroviral therapy for people who inject drugs living with HIV.
Year of publication: 
2016

LINKAGES Key Population Program Implementation Guide

LINKAGES Key Populations Program Implementation Guide
The LINKAGES project (Linkages Across the Continuum of HIV Services for Key Populations Affected by HIV), supported by the US President’s Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), aims to accelerate the ability of partner governments, key population-led civil-society organizations, and private-sector providers to plan, deliver, and optimize comprehensive HIV prevention, care, and treatment services at scale that reduce HIV transmission among key populations and extend life for those who are HIV positive. LINKAGES has established a global Program Acceleration Initiative that will use its existing partnerships to accelerate and strengthen the delivery of the comprehensive package of services at scale. This implementation guide is part of the initiative. It sets out the steps that programs can take to deliver services to key populations effectively and quickly.

The guide is also available in French and Portuguese.

Year of publication: 
2016

Gender & Sexual Diversity Training: A Facilitator’s Guide for Public Health and HIV Programs (Slide Deck)

Gender & Sexual Diversity Training: A Facilitator's Guide for Public Health and HIV Programs (Slide Deck)
This slide deck to the Gender & Sexual Diversity Training curriculum was developed specifically for PEPFAR staff and their country-level implementing partners to help country programs understand and address the needs of gender and sexual minority communities in the context of HIV programming, U.S. workplace policy on non-discrimination, and through a human rights lens. The guide was developed by the USAID- and PEPFAR-funded Health Policy Project, in coordination with a U.S. Government inter-agency team made up of members of the PEPFAR Key Populations Working Group and the PEPFAR Gender Technical Working Group.
Year of publication: 
2015